India Takes Condom Campaign To The Skies

Health activists are taking advantage of India’s love of kite flying to try and boost condom usage in a country which has the world’s highest number of HIV/AIDS sufferers.
“The colourful kites carry the message that using a condom is a simple and instinctive act,” Sibaji Bose — a regional communication manager of Population Services International (PSI).
“They can fly high in the sky and land at distant places where we cannot reach,” said Bose, whose non-governmental organisation is working alongside authorities in the east Indian state of West Bengal.
India outstripped South Africa as the country with the largest number of HIV/AIDS infections last year. India has 5.7 million people living with AIDS against South Africa’s 5.5 million.
“We want to communicate the message when people are in a festive mood,” said Bose, explaining that too many people still viewed condoms as not being too much fun.
The kite flying season here precedes the state’s biggest festival, Durga Puja, during which Hindus worship the goddess Durga, the destroyer of evil.
“The message printed on the kites says “Do Ungliyon Ka Khel” meaning its a game of two fingers. We are harping on two-finger acts like holding a cup of tea or tweaking a moustache to promote the easy and consistent usage of condom,” he added.
Manidipa Mukherjee, deputy chief of West Bengal State AIDS Prevention and Control Society, said the trafficking of women and sexual exploitation combined with unprotected sex were responsible for the spread of the deadly disease.
“It’s difficult to communicate the message of sexual health to the diverse communities including networks of homosexuals, men having sex with men and transgender people, who face stigma and discrimination,” she said.
“This campaign will help to reach out to such groups and de-stigmatise the condom usage,” she said.
from Today Online

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